Diamond Prices Hold Steady in December After A Down Year
New York, NY—Polished diamond prices stabilized in December following a better-than-expected holiday season, says the latest report from Rapaport. Market sentiment improved in December amid steady US holiday jewelry sales and consistent Chinese demand ahead of the Chinese New Year on February 16, 2018.
The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI) for one-carat diamonds edged up 0.3% in December. RAPI for 0.30-carat diamonds rose 1.2%, while RAPI for 0.50-carat stones increased 0.6%. RAPI for 3-carat diamonds slid 1.7%.
For the full year 2017, however, prices didn’t fare as well. Only larger stones (3.0 carat+) gained value; all other sizes declined and half-carat stones especially declined significantly (-17.8%) for the full year. The one-carat RAPI softened 0.8% in the fourth quarter and fell 5.3% for the full year. The index declined for the sixth consecutive year in 2017, as noted in the Rapaport Diamond Price Statistics Annual Report to be published in the January 2018 edition of Rapaport Magazine.
Diamond trading slowed in December, with American and Belgian dealers on vacation during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Dealers are encouraged by reports of positive retail sales, but are waiting for memo returns before assessing the holiday season.
Manufacturers are maintaining steady polished production in anticipation of a rise in first-quarter demand, a period when jewelers typically replenish stock sold during the holiday season.
Dealers are starting 2018 with a better outlook than in previous years amid positive economic news. That will lead to more diamond demand, even as growth in online sales, rising synthetics supply and changing consumer habits contribute to uncertainty in the diamond sector.
The US retail environment is undergoing unprecedented change, with strong online sales creating greater competition and price uncertainty due to Internet discounting. (Online retail sales in general were up 18% across the board.) Jewelers and diamantaires who provided added-value services and implemented strategies to engage with customers online and in-store had a successful holiday.
In mainland China, more consistent local sales are replacing volatile Chinese tourist shopping elsewhere, with diamond engagement rings gaining popularity among Chinese millennials.
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Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry Linked To Money Laundering Scheme
New York, NY—Ivanka Trump’s now-defunct line of fine jewelry might lose even more luster. Reports surfaced last month that Madison Avenue Diamonds—the company that operated the Ivanka Trump jewelry brand—may have helped shelter roughly $100 million in assets owed by a wealthy Emirati oil family to the Commercial Bank of Dubai.
A court filing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in June against Madison Avenue Diamonds doesn’t name Trump specifically, but the timing suggests the alleged transactions would have taken place while the company was operating under the Trump brand.
Las Vegas Antique Show To Remain At LVCC
Las Vegas, Nevada—The Las Vegas Antique Show has announced it will not return to Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, but rather will remain at the Las Vegas Convention Center for the forseeable future. The event was held at the convention center in 2017 but had planned on returning to the Paris facility thereafter, according to a report in National Jeweler.
But vendor feedback about the move was so positive that Emerald Expositions Jewelry Group, the show’s organizers, decided to keep the show at the convention center--which also is in closer proximity to the Couture show at the Wynn, another Emerald event.
Late last year, the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) announced it will be moving its GemFair Las Vegas out of the JCK Show and co-locating with the antique show at the LVCC starting with the 2019 event.